PURPOSE DRIVEN WOMAN
This month’s Purpose Driven Woman is Minister Deborah Chambers. She is a wife, mother, servant-leader, and the Sr. Director of Strategic Partnerships & Community Engagement at Central Union Mission. Her heart for service is such an inspiration and she is truly a role model for women seeking to serve God and His people.
As Director, you have an up-close and personal view of homelessness which I know can be heart breaking at times, do you ever feel like it’s too heavy?
It’s never too heavy because I know that with God’s help all things are possible and their lives can have a different outcome – by working here I have the privilege of seeing a miracle in action. I’m able to see them enter beaten, broken and busted by life but after they experience the love of Christ, the care that’s given to them by the wonderful staff and volunteers that work at The Mission, the food, clothing and help that’s offered thru our program, you begin to see the transformation that’s quite evident. There’s hope in their eyes, joy in their smiles, excitement in their speech and peace in their hearts. When you see someone transformed by the power of God, you’ve witnessed a miracle. And because I’ve seen that happen over and over again I’m not disheartened. They’ve lived thru hell but by God’s grace they don’t have to stay in hell – there’s help for them at Central Union Mission and I’m honored to be part of that transformation process. God does the transforming, we just get to be conduits of that process.
You’re a wife, mom, director, leader at your church, etc. How do you prioritize?
I try to keep first things first – God is first, then me and my family. While there are sacrifices to be made, God did not call me to sacrifice my family for His ministry or my job. This is always a challenge for me – I love what I do – I’m a type A workaholic anyway so it’s easy for me to get out of whack. There’s always pressure to perform and in the fundraising world, delivering dollars for programs is always a need but I try and make sure my family is taken care of first then I feel free to fully engage in ministry and work. I’ve often read about regrets people have when they look back over their life and I don’t want to regret failing to spend time with my family so I remain conscious about keeping my priorities in order but the truth is it’s always a work in progress for me.
What does your daily relationship with God look like?
My relationship with God was revolutionized when I read the book Experiencing the Depths of Jesus Christ by Jeanne Guyon. In that book, she describes a method of praying the scriptures that I follow. It brings me into the presence of Christ and I am renewed, encouraged, and comforted by the experience. It changes “reading” the word and “doing” devotions into being “watered” by the word and “experiencing” devotions. That experience follows me throughout the day – bubbling up inside like living water when I least expect it, reminding me that He’s close to me and loves me and that makes my day. It reminds me that it’s not about me it’s all about Him. And when things get crazy, I can easily steal away, dip back into what I meditated on earlier in the day and I’m refreshed all over again. It’s also fun; I love to laugh and my relationship with God is like that too! I’m honest with Him, I laugh with Him, I’m real with Him, and that keeps it alive and fresh because I can love Him and still be honest to who He’s made me to be.
Who or what inspires you and why?
The obvious answer is first and always God. His spirit is the best influence for good in my life. Second is my family – my husband and my son; their love and support keeps me going and finally I’m inspired by my Pastor, John K. Jenkins Sr. I admire his dedication, sacrifice and continual pursuit for excellence. The other day he commented on how busy I was and asked how I got it all done, I replied “What should I do, go sit down?” He said “No, you can’t do that” and laughed. So I told him that I’m much like him and if he can push to serve the Lord at his best, so too can I. I said if he can balance it all and do it all then there must be grace for me to do it too.
How do you keep God at the forefront of your life?
Years of trouble! Seriously, life for me has not been easy. There have been lots of trials and tribulation and through all the struggles I have learned to lean and depend on the Lord. And because He’s brought me thru time after time and made a way out of no way He’s proven to show Himself faithful in my life. So I seek Him first. I’m committed, surrendered, and helplessly dependent on Him. My very favorite Psalm is Psalm 27 – that says it all for me cause “if it had not been for the Lord who was on my side…”
We hear the word ‘balance’ thrown around a lot, what does it mean to you?
To balance means to distribute weight evenly. To me it just means a girl’s gotta do what a girl’s gotta do! I think the problem with this over used word “balance” is that we don’t also stress that each of us have to uniquely define what balance feels like for each of us as individuals. For me I find balance in doing what makes me feel even and that means learning to say no to some things even some good things so that I feel even. It also means paying attention to the warning signs. When life begins to weigh me down I recognize the weight is not evenly distributed and I throw some things overboard so I can feel even again – so I won’t make the meeting, I won’t clean the house, I won’t cook dinner, I will make the luncheon, I will go out for dinner, I will buy the shoes (and the dress). It means I color outside of the lines but stay within my value lines until I feel even or balanced.
Why do you believe it’s important for us to serve others?
Because it’s not about us, it’s about others. Jesus said that by our love for one another the world would know that we are His disciples. Service is a very demonstrable way to show love for others – when done right it screams that we are His disciples. It’s not self above service, it’s service above self.
Can you share a scripture that is feeding your spirit right now and why?
Ephesians 1: 1-11 because with everyday I realize the blessings of God are fully mine – now –not by and by and that the power to be and to do and to achieve is fully and completely within my grasp now. There’s nothing to wait on – go for it now – because it was given to me at the foot of the cross. I just have to get up and go get it. So I’m going for it! Like the Mary Mary song says, “go get your blessing”, that’s my driving mission statement now.